Because of his Barfblog and associated Bites (Safe food from farm to fork) website, Professor Doug Powell is probably one of the best-known faculty members on the Kansas State University campus.
Except Professor Powell has not been on campus lately. For the past couple years, he’s been living in Brisbane, Australia with his wife, Dr. Amy Hubbell, who teaches French language at the University of Queensland. Powell has been living the life of a long distance professor, 15 hours ahead of U.S. Central Time. Now, he says, the party is over because Kansas State University is terminating his contract, effective June 30, 2013.
On April 1st, Food Safety News also contacted Jeffery B. Morris, VP for communications and marketing for KSU, only to be told it is generally the university’s policy not to comment on personnel matters. Morris said they need to gather the facts before issuing a response, but at press time Food Safety News had not heard anything more from the Manhattan, KS campus.
Professor Powell reports that after his wife, Dr. Amy Hubbell, left Kansas State University for the University of Queensland in Brisbane, he worked out a deal with his dean and department chair so that he could join her and his daughters by becoming a long distance faculty member.
The “electronic and eclectic” nature of his research work caused them to agree to what Powell calls an “experiment.”
“I had presented options for on-line course in food safety policy, a massive open on-line course (MOOC) in food safety, and was repeatedly told my performance as a faculty member was above average – but I’m getting fired for not being there to hold my colleagues hand during tea,” he wrote.
Powell said he publishes approximately 1,000 blog entries annually on Barfblog.com, 400 on Bites and conducts around 600 media interviews.
He told Food Safety News that both Barfblog and Bites will continue in a more reduced form.
“I love my wife and family,” Powell wrote. “And that’s where my allegiance lies.”
No doubt about that, but Food Safety News wanted to know if Kansas State would continue his contract if he remained on campus.
Neither Powell nor K State seemed to want to respond to that line of inquiry. Powell said when he did live in Manhattan, the place was like a morgue. And K State is still working on its response.
Food Safety News named Powell one of the Best in Food Safety in Education in February.© Food Safety News